TBC obtains banking licence in Uzbekistan

TBC obtains banking licence in Uzbekistan

TBC Bank Group PLC (“TBC PLC”) is pleased to announce that its subsidiary, TBC Bank (the ‘Bank’) in Uzbekistan, has obtained its banking licence and is planning to launch banking operations in June 2020.

TBC PLC’s strategy is to establish a greenfield, next-generation banking ecosystem for retail and MSME customers in Uzbekistan with a primary focus on digital and partnership-driven channels. Given the current operating environment and impact from Covid-19, we have further optimised our business model with the enhanced emphasis on asset-light and cost-efficient operations.

The range of products offered by the Bank at launch will include:
o Current and savings accounts;
o Cash loans, salary backed loans and car loans; and
o Cards, mobile application and transactional capabilities including (but not limited to) P2P transactions, money transfers and utility payments.

In addition, the Bank will also run the point-of-sale consumer finance operation. TBC PLC’s Uzbek payments subsidiary, Payme, which already reached 2 million registered customers by March 2020, will continue to operate separately from the Bank but the two entities will co-operate closely.

The Bank will be run by an experienced management board headed by Chief Executive Officer Sandro Rtveladze, who previously held the role of Group Head of Retail Banking at Bayport Financial Services and prior to that was Deputy CEO at Liberty Bank in Georgia.

TBC PLC has already invested USD 12.6 million into the charter capital of the Bank and expects to invest an additional USD 9.4 million by the end of 2020. Additional capital increase is planned for later this year. Potential new shareholders, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Finance Corporation and the Uzbek-Oman Investment Company, have expressed their interest to participate subject to their internal approvals. TBC PLC will remain the majority shareholder with 51% interest.

Vakhtang Butskhrikidze, Chief Executive Officer of TBC PLC, commented: “I am delighted that we have obtained the licence to start our banking operations in Uzbekistan. I would also like to thank the Uzbek authorities for their support and cooperation. This is the beginning of a new chapter in our group’s history and opens up significant new opportunities for our future development in the region. We are excited to embark on this new journey and, over time, deliver good results for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”

Sandro Rtveladze, Chief Executive Officer of TBC Bank in Uzbekistan, commented: “I am extremely pleased to join TBC’s highly experienced team in Uzbekistan and also express my gratitude for all the support we have received from the Central Bank of Uzbekistan to enable the launch of our operations within the planned timeline. Our asset-light and relatively low-cost base business model, as well as our long-term commitment to Uzbekistan sets us on the right path to achieve our aspirations. “

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